Showing posts with label federal election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label federal election. Show all posts

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Australian Politics 2018 to 2019: as good an explanation as any


This is an excerpt from a version of the speech delivered by RMIT University Adjunct Professor Barrie Cassidy at the Capitol on 3 October 2019:

Consider this. The Labor Party in Australia has now won a 

majority of seats in the House of Representatives, where 
governments are made and unmade, a majority just once in 
the last 26 years. Once since Paul Keating won the 1993 
election. That once was Kevin Rudd in 2007. Julia Gillard 
didn’t do it. She won minority government only. And in May 
Labor failed again. Not against well-established Liberal Party 
heavyweights like John Howard and Peter Costello – but 
they lost to a government led by Scott Morrison, a 
government that Morrison himself described as ‘The Muppet 
Show’. And a government that lost so much talent from its 
front bench when so many moderates simply couldn’t go 
on any longer. 

So why? What happened? What’s going on? 

So much of went wrong for Labor is only transparently 

obvious after the event. But it’s obvious just the same. First 
and foremost, their agenda was too ambitious – too cluttered. 
Kevin Rudd won with a single-minded attack on work choices. 
Paul Keating with an attack on John Hewson’s Fightback 
document, Bob Hawke with a non-specific promise of bringing 
Australia together. 

Labor this time had a myriad of policy and political approaches. 
A combination of poor planning and poor salesmanship led to 
hundreds and thousands of people who will never see a 
franking credit in their lives, fearing they were about to lose 
something. Fearing it to such an extent that, faced with a blunt 
choice – franking credits or increased childcare benefits – they 
chose the franking credits. 

Now franking credits are unsustainable and at some stage 
something will have to give; the numbers in just a few short 
years from now will be compelling. The cost will grow 
exponentially. There will have to be at the very least a trimming 
of the benefits.

But having said that, it wasn’t sensible to go so hard right off 

the bat at the problem, and it wasn’t sensible to put the policy 
out so far ahead of time. It went out in isolation from the upside
 – the benefit to community – the revenue … the money that 
would then flow to other priorities. 

Here’s the evidence for that. The Age and the Sydney Morning 

Herald, to their credit, put out these numbers themselves. They 
surveyed their own papers and what did they find? The dental 
plan that was to be paid for with the franking credits policy – 
that got 10 mentions; the cancer funding, virtually free cancer 
treatment for older Australians – that got 21 mentions. 
Franking credits ... 700. 

That’s how big a start that issue – the negative issue – got over 

the positive. 

Same with negative gearing. It wasn’t just the policy shift – but 

what in their minds it represented. 

To so many it was an illustration of Labor’s inability to manage 

the economy; to threaten economic welfare. 

A huge lesson: you can’t take anything away from people 

without a very good reason. If it’s hard to explain then it’s easy 
to exploit. But more than that, the policies left Labor exposed to 
a government campaign built around higher taxes. They built a 
fear that taxes would go up across the board, to such an extent 
that an internet-led scare campaign around death taxes even 
got traction. 

In retrospect, Labor would have been better off running a far 

narrower campaign built around climate change and wages. 
The rest could have waited until after the election. That is not 
to say Labor should be forever gun-shy: too timid now to 
address long-term budgetary problems that negative gearing 
and franking credits represents. They should not be gun-shy. 

As I said, those issues will have to be dealt with, by either a 

Labor or a coalition government. But more gradually, certainly 
initially impacting on fewer people. 

But what we are seeing right now is a Labor Party knocked 

about by a shock loss and in real danger of overreacting … 
ready to abandon so much; a party that now seems hesitant to 
take on the government even on some of the bigger issues. 

Herein lies the dilemma now for Labor. Research has shown 

that at the last election – if that election had just been held in 
Victoria, NSW and the ACT – Labor would have won 48 seats 
to 37. That’s probably not surprising. But throw in SA, 
Tasmania and the NT – a large part of the country – and Labor 
still wins 57 seats to 43. Now add the capital cities of Brisbane 
and Perth – still Labor by 67 seats to 54. That only leaves the 
rural and regional seats of Queensland and WA: but there are 
a lot of them. 25 in fact – and 23 of those went to the Coalition. 
That put the Coalition comfortably in front. 

Now I’m not suggesting in any way that skewers the result. It 

doesn’t. The people in those rural areas are Australians too. 
Their vote counts in the same way as those in the capital cities. 
The point though is this. That demographic carried it for the 
Coalition. The rest of the country voted marginally Labor. 

So how does Labor deal with that? What do you say to 

Queenslanders? I recall 30 years ago saying to Bob Hawke: 
I’ve noticed when you’re in WA you remind people that you 
were educated there; when you’re in SA you remind them that’s 
where you were born; when you’re in Victoria you talk about 
your ACTU days; and now as PM you spend most of your time 
in NSW. What are you going to say to Queenslanders? And 
he said with a twinkle in his eye. I could tell them that’s where 
I’ll retire! 

But the serious dilemma now for Labor is essentially this. 

Do they abandon policies because regional Queensland hates 
those policies? Do they appease Pauline Hanson and her ilk? 

Do they make compromises simply aimed at winning back a 

share of that vote? Do they appease the regions of Queensland 
but in the process risk looking and sounding wishywashy in 
other parts of Australia? 

One answer surely is to be true to yourself. Back yourself to 

grow the vote in the rest of Australia; without abandoning 
Queensland altogether. Sort out what you stand for and be 
resolute behind those values. 

Labor lost the last election, sure, but by and large they died 

on their feet. If they’re not careful they’ll over analyse and die 
on their knees at the next one.

Read the full speech here.


Sunday, 3 February 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's political moves reviewed in mainstream media


Murdoch-News Corp newspaper front pages may be shouting support for all things Scott Morrison on most days. However a little subversion loiters within.......

Weekend Australian, 19 January 2019, p.20:

Here are 10 missteps in the short time Morrison has been in the job that could have been avoided if only he had adopted the Costanza approach and done the opposite of his political instincts.

1. It started just days before taking over from Malcolm Turnbull. Standing in the prime ministerial courtyard, asked whether he had any ambitions to lead the Liberal Party, Morrison threw his arm around Turnbull and declared he was ambitious for his boss. Presumably the journalist asking the question had heard the same things I had: that Morrison and his lieutenants had been canvassing with colleagues whether he could come through the middle as a ­viable third candidate. It wasn’t a good look in retrospect.

2. Very early on as Prime Minister, Morrison decided it might be a good idea to start a debate about moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The storm of controversy that followed — international condemnation and threats from Indonesia to scuttle free trade talks — distracted voters in the days before voters in Wentworth went to the polls. The Liberals lost the seat, and Morrison was left to patch up a mess of his own making.


3. Speaking of Wentworth, the Prime Minister decided to weigh in on the party preselection and call for a woman to represent the Liberal Party. Only he did so after nominations had closed, and he didn’t do it publicly, which meant his support wasn’t able to attract better candidates. And a man won preselection anyway, leaving Morrison to pose for the cameras rather awkwardly with someone he’d effectively tried to prevent from winning the preselection.

4. Social media can be dangerous for all of us, but a religiously conservative prime minister probably shouldn’t post rap music by Fatman Scoop to play over video of his parliamentary team without first contemplating where the rap lyrics might go. Into obscene territory was the answer, which is why the video was removed and an apology was issued.

5. When calibrating his frontbench, Morrison decided to return close mate and political ally Stuart Robert. But, shortly after, the returned minister (who previously had been forced to resign) was again immersed in controv­ersy, including having to pay back an internet bill in the tens of thousands. If Morrison had done the opposite he would have been able to accommodate new talent and avoided an unnecessary controversy distracting the government.

6. Deciding not to speak out early during the religious freedom debate and defend children and teachers from discrimination left Morrison looking out of touch. It also offended many of his moderate colleagues, weakening him internally. It played into Labor criticisms that the new PM was too busy placating the hard Right in his party to appeal to the political mainstream.

7. Speaking of which, Morrison intervened to save maverick backbencher Craig Kelly from a pre­selection threat and in the process (to make it look as if he weren’t intervening specifically to save Kelly) he ensured that all sitting MPs in NSW were renominated. The same thing had happened in Victoria. However, it’s pretty hard to then claim you are taking serious steps to address the problem of so few female MPs when a prime minister intervenes to ensure all those blokes get automatically preselected without a democratic process.

8. Turnbull made the mistake of dumping the national energy guarantee, but when Morrison had the chance to bring it back he squibbed it, and in effect he now will go into the election campaign without a serious policy for addressing carbon emissions. Not reviving the NEG also put a wedge between Morrison and his new party deputy, Josh Frydenberg, who as environment and energy minister had crafted the policy.

9. Refusing to engage with questions from Labor as to why Morrison was Prime Minister and why Turnbull was gone kept the issue alive. Labor exploited the non-answers, continuing to ask the question, and it didn’t take long before journalists started doing the same. Morrison should have done the opposite and provided a detailed explanation early to avoid the wound continuing to bleed.

10. Finally, we all know that Morrison created a hard-man image for himself as immigration minister stopping the boats, which raises the question: why did he feel the need to suddenly shift from that to goofy Aussie bloke, putting an upturned empty beer glass on his head after a skol? It’s all part of his attempt to look like an ordinary knockabout bloke. As one of his colleagues told me: “I’m not looking for a new friend, certainly not in my PM. I just want a competent leader.” The ex-marketing man should have known better.

We haven’t traversed all the missteps since August last year, and we don’t want to be unfair and blame Morrison for things he has blamed his department for, such as the Photoshopped white sneakers on his Christmas card photo.

Equally, missteps such as the appointment of his former chief of staff to the independent position of Treasury secretary or opposing the banking royal commission for so long aren’t mistakes made during his time as Prime Minister.

The remarkable thing about the list above is the short time ­frame in which it has accumulated. Morrison hasn’t even been Prime Minister for five months. If he loses in May he will be one of the country’s shortest serving prime ministers,…… [my yellow highlighting]

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Australia 2018: It's not looking good for the Morrison Government



News.com.au, 23 October 2018:

IT’S not looking good for the Coalition.

New polling analysis has revealed the Morrison Government is facing an election wipe-out, with a drop in support across every mainland state and every voter demographic since Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister in August.

Analysis of four Newspolls since the August 24 leadership coup, published by The Australian this morning, reveals a potential loss of up to 25 seats across Australia based on two-party preferred swings since the 2016 election, with eight held by current frontbenchers.

It comes after a shocking 19 per cent swing against the Liberal Party at the Wentworth by-election on Saturday.

Swings against the Morrison Government of up to 5% in Queensland and 7% in South Australia are tipped.

While on the NSW North Coast pundits are suggesting that Nationals MP Kevin Hogan will have to fight hard to keep the Page federal electorate and that Nationals-held Cowper is also up for grabs.

Kevin Hogan is still mired in that ridiculous charade where he declared himself as an independent MP sitting on the cross bench in August 2018.

Despite the fact that:


b) remains the Deputy National Party Whip in the House of Representatives;

c) remains Deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives;

d) was preselected by the National Party as its candidate in Page for the forthcoming federal election; and

e) has always voted at the direction of the National Party both before and after his spurious move to the cross bench.


Thursday, 30 August 2018

NSW North Coast candidates begin to line up for March 2019 state election



CLARENCE GREENS, Media Release, 19 August 2018:   

                                    Clarence Greens announce State candidate

The Clarence Greens have endorsed Dr Greg Clancy – a Greens councillor on Clarence Valley Council – as the Greens candidate for Clarence in next year’s State election.

His announcement as candidate follows a preselection ballot of Greens members from across the electorate contested by Greg and Will Elrick of Woombah.
Dr Clancy stated that he was very humbled to be selected and thanked the membership for placing their trust in him.

‘I look forward to working on the campaign with Will and the other members of the Greens to raise the important issues,’ he said.  

‘There are many issues that should be the focus of the campaign,’ he said.
‘These include supporting public services such as TAFE, hospitals and national park management and retaining staff in the valley to deliver regional services. I am also keen to promote the need for a new high school in the lower Clarence.

‘Of course, protecting the environment is a key concern, as so much of our local economy relies on a healthy environment,’ he said.

‘There needs to be better oversight of native forest management, improved funding for national parks, improved incentives for sustainable agriculture and a reversal of the weakened land clearing laws. I will be continuing to oppose gas mining and the proposed cobalt, antimony and gold mines in our catchments. A key statewide issue is action to ban single-use plastics.’

‘I am looking forward to promoting the four pillars of the Greens at the local level. They are ecological sustainability, peace and non-violence, grassroots democracy and social justice.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Daily Examiner, 10 May 2018:

TRENT Gilbert has been endorsed as the Country Labor candidate for Clarence in the 2019 state election and will once again run against sitting member National's MP, Chris Gulaptis.

Mr Gilbert stood for Labor in the 2015 election and gained an impressive 22.2% swing.

"I took it up to Chris Gulaptis in 2015 and will use that experience to campaign hard again,” Mr Gilbert said.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Meet Alan Carr, Your Nationals Candidate for Lismore

A qualified carpenter, a university graduate with degrees in communications and economics, and now a local macadamia grower, Austin will use his broad experience to advocate for everyone.

Austin was raised and educated in Northern NSW so understands the unique nature of our community and is committed to protecting our way of life.

As the father of three young kids, Austin knows the importance of good local schools, keeping crime under control and how important it is for our kids to have the opportunity to realise their dreams at home.

As a farmer, Austin is committed to practical environmentalism — real action to make our local environment more livable and sustainable.

As someone who hasn’t been a long time member of a political party, a political or union staff member, he brings a new approach to politics and a fresh face ready for our future. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Echo News, 13 June 2018:

HIGH profile public interest lawyer Sue Higginson is set to be announced today as the NSW Greens candidate for the seat of Lismore.

The announcement sets the stage for a compelling state election contest next year with two heavyweight contenders, in the form of Labor veteran Janelle Saffin and now Ms Higginson - to pit themselves against Nationals newcomer Austin Curtin.

A well known figure in Lismore, Ms Higginson was the solicitor for the Northern Rivers branch of the Environmental Defender's Office for several years and was instrumental in setting its local office up in 2006.

She is also a dry land rice farmer on the Richmond flood plain who raised her family in the region, and has garnered respect across the political divide for her principled legal work.

From 2012 she commuted to Sydney to take up the chief solicitor role with the EDO before becoming the organisation's CEO in 2015, until stepping down last November to become a member of the Greens, and seek pre-selection for the seat of Lismore.

Speaking to The Northern Star this morning, Ms Higginson said going into politics was a "very natural” progression after years of working to protect for the interests of regional communities via law reform.

She said a Parliamentarian's role was twofold - to be an advocate for the community, and to make new laws for the state - and said she was an "expert” on the complexities of the latter.

"I'm no stranger to Macquarie St,” she said.

"I've spent many long hours advising members of Parliament across the board.
"I feel that I am absolutely the most qualified candidate for Lismore.”

She has also lived in the Lismore region since her teens and has a grass roots activist past, having participated in anti-logging protests in the early 1990s before going on to become lawyer.

On the seat of Lismore, she said: "I strongly believe it’s time for a change here”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, 27 August 2018

Luke Hartsuyker? Luke Hartsuyker? Think I recall that name


Luke Hartsuyker Image: Greater Springfield Daily Record

NSW National Party MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker is retiring at the next federal election.

He has been a member of the federal parliament since 2001 and is a clear example of a man rising to the level of his own political incompetence.

Hartsuyker has briefly held one ministerial and three assistant ministerial positions since entering parliament – the last ending in March this year:

Assistant Minister for Employment from 18.9.13 to 21.9.15 (2 years).
Minister for Vocational Education and Skills from 21.9.15 to 18.2.16 (less than 5 months).
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister from 19.7.16 to 20.12.17 (17 months).
Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment from 20.12.17 to 5.3.18 (less than 3 months).

Hartsuyker was Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the House of Representatives from 18.9.13 to 18.2.16 (approximately 2 years & 4 months).

By  the time the next federal election rolls around Luke Hartsuyker will have been in the Australian Parliament for 17 years, yet the best his party could say of him when he announced his intention to resign was to list as his achievements work largely done by other politicians.


I am sure there are parts of the Cowper electorate where his name barely registers with local residents and one has to suspect it won't take too many years before the only way he is remembered is as an obscure name on weathered building dedication plaques.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Polls are still not looking good for Turnbull Government as November draws to a close


Essential Report, 28 November 2017. This report summarises the results of a weekly omnibus conducted by Essential Research with data provided by Your Source. The survey was conducted online from 24th to 27th November 2017 and is based on 1,021 respondents.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Polling numbers not looking good for Turnbull Government as regional Australia loses patience


The Australian, 9 October 2017:



The quarterly Newspoll analysis, conducted exclusively for The Australian, shows Labor continues to lead the Coalition by 53 to 47 per cent in two-party terms, holding the same advantage for three consecutive quarters this year.

In a shock result for the government in one of its key constituencies, the Coalition’s primary vote among voters outside the five capital cities fell from 36 to 34 per cent over the three months to the end of September.

The outcome is the government’s lowest result in regional Australia since it secured a narrow election victory last year with a 44 per cent primary vote outside the capitals, 10 percentage points higher than the new polling.

In a dramatic turnaround, Labor now has stronger core support than the Coalition among voters outside the capital cities, with its primary vote rising from 34 to 36 per cent over the quarter.

The outcome raises questions about the performance of the Nationals and country Liberals in shoring up support when the government’s fate could hinge on a handful of regional electorates in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

This is the first time Labor has taken the lead over the Coalition among regional and rural voters since last year’s election, when its primary vote outside the capital cities was only 30.8 per cent……

The survey of 9889 voters from July to September combines results from Newspolls conducted over the quarter, smoothing out short-term movements and resulting in a smaller margin of error of 1 per cent for national results.

While the Newspoll published on September 25 showed the government had seen a small slip in its support over three weeks, with the Coalition trailing Labor by 46 to 54 per cent in two-party terms, the quarterly analysis shows an overall trend of 47 to 53 per cent in two-party terms throughout this year……

The government lags Labor in two-party terms in each state in the Newspoll analysis, ranging from a 47-53 result in Western Australia and Victoria to a 46-54 gap in Queensland and a 45-55 result in South Australia. The government improved its fortunes in NSW, narrowing the gap against Labor from 47-53 to 48-52 in two-party-preferred terms from one quarter to the next, and saw a similar one-point gain in South Australia while suffering a one-point decline in Queensland.

The Liberal Party is facing some of its toughest battles in seats outside the big cities, including the regional Victorian seat of Corangamite held by Sarah Henderson, the NSW south coast seat of Gilmore held by Ann Sudmalis, the NSW central coast seat of Robertson held by Lucy Wicks, and the northern Queensland seat of Leichhardt held by retiring Warren Entsch.

The Nationals are also under pressure in traditional strongholds including the NSW north coast seat of Page held by Kevin Hogan and the Queensland seat of Capricornia held by Michelle Landry. [my yellow highlighting]

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Federal Election 2016: Malcolm Bligh Turnbull's faux outrage


This was Coalition Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull frothing at the mouth in March 2016:


Now at the time writs were issued for the 2013 federal election there were 34 Liberal/Nationals senators, 31 Labor senators, 9 Greens senators and 1 independent.

After that election there were 33 Liberal/Nationals senators, 25 Labor senators, 10 Greens senators, 1 independent senators and 7 minor party senators.

With some senators resigning from minor parties in the first two years the mix is now 33 Liberal/Nationals senators, 25 Labor senators, 10 Greens senators, 4 independent senators and 4 minor party senators.

The Senate still functions - sitting days are per usual, estimate hearings go ahead as normal and committees function as well as they ever did.

So why all this faux outrage on the part of the Turnbull Government, which resulted in it introducing the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016 in the Lower House on 22 February and attempting to ram it through the Senate as I write?

Well it wasn’t because that very large Senate ballot paper led to a high informal vote – in fact 2013 saw the third lowest informal vote since 1977 when it came to casting votes for senators – and it wasn’t because the ballot result meant the Coalition had drastically fewer senators as they went from 37 senators in the 43rd Parliament to 34 in the 44th “hung” Parliament.

The real reason that Turnbull & Co are up in arms is because the Senate rejected the most punitive of its 2014-15 budget measures. You know, the ones that were blatant ideological attempts to begin the dismantling of universal healthcare, affordable university education and the welfare safety net.

The fact that the Senate was merely reflecting the outrage of much of the national electorate continues to be ignored, as Malcolm and his cronies blame those pesky minor parties and plot to comprehensively ‘own’ the Senate next time round.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Which NSW federal electorate will disappear in the electoral boundary redistribution currently underway?


The are 48 federal electorates within New South Wales with 48 sitting Members of Parliament.

As part of the current Australian Electoral Commission boundary redistribution process begun this month, one of these electorates will be removed from the map below before the 2016 federal general election.

Which one will it be?

ABC election commentator Antony Green suggests that it may be the Riverina electorate which will disappear completely.

However, a number of boundaries will have to be adjusted and The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 1 December 2014 :

Political pundits believe the biggest effects will be felt in the upper Hunter Valley and lower North Coast of NSW where enrolments have fallen the most dramatically.

This redistribution in NSW, WA and the ACT would not favour either an early federal election as Green points out or an unexpected by-election and, for the NSW North Coast would be particularly complicated:

The redistribution process will then take about nine months for NSW, possibly shorter for Western Australia. This will be an annoying complication for the Abbott government if it chooses to use any available trigger to request a double dissolution in 2015.
An early election in a state with an unchanged seat entitlement has no complications. The existing electoral boundaries would be used.
But under a High Court ruling from the 1970s, if a state's entitlement to seats in the House changes, then the changed number of members must be elected for the state at the next election.
This means that if an election is called mid-way through a redistribution in a state with changed entitlement to seats, then a method needs to be used to create or abolish a seat while leaving other boundaries in place.
The mechanism that has been in the Commonwealth Electoral Act since 1984, but to date never used, is a 'mini-redistribution'.
In a state set to lose a seat, the two adjacent electorates with the lowest enrolment would be amalgamated into a single electorate.
In a state set to gain an electorate, the two neighbouring electorates with the highest enrolment would be quickly divided into three electorates.
How would this operate in New South Wales ......based on enrolments at the end of June 2014?
On current enrolments, the National held seats of Page and Cowper on the north coast of NSW would be amalgamated into a single seat called Cowper-Page. On June statistics this joined seat would have an enrolment of 192,530.
The next four possible amalgamations would be Page-Richmond (192,839), Newcastle-Shortland (193,795), Farrer-Riverina (193,929) and Lyne-Paterson (194,377). Only one pairing of electorates would be merged, but which two will depend on enrolments when the election is called.
Cowper-Page combines two National held seats, Newcastle-Shortland combines two Labor held seats, Page-Richmond combines a Labor and National seat, while Farrer-Riverina and Lyne-Paterson combine a Liberal held and National held seat.....
and     
A double dissolution after the determination date but before the boundaries were finalised would require a mini-redistribution. That means this messy process would be used for a double dissolution between the end of 2014 and the last quarter of 2015.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The NSW Nationals have been whispering about it for quite a while, but this is the first time I have seen it in print


Former Labor MP Janelle Saffin is considering taking on the sitting Nationals MP Kevin Hogan for the federal seat of Page at the next general election.


Snapshot from The Northern Star 29 June 2014

Hat tip to Clarrie Rivers for supplying this.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Fast food franchisee to stand against Elliot in Richmond



And here he is in all his glory………
Matthew Fraser, co-owner of two Hungry Jacks (Competitive Foods Australia Pty Ltd) fast food franchises, in an obligatory shot with Wollumbin (Mt. Warning) in the background.


Matthew’s main claim to fame on the Internet is the exploding oil dumpster incident in 2009.